Blue Ridge Parkway and Crozet, VA 5/11/12

All photos are Marshall Faintich

My original plan for the past week was to spend today on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but after being there on a very windy day yesterday and seeing very little, I decide to go birding in Crozet, VA.

Mint Springs Park

After arriving a little before 9:00, I walked the entire Fire Trail and was very disappointed with the few birds I heard and saw there. Except for a small flock of Cedar Waxwings, the park was very quiet.

Cedar Waxwings

Female American Redstart

Carolina Wren

Next stop was Sugar Hollow Road and the reservoir. I heard and saw very little, and except for a pair of Double-crested Cormorants and a few swallows, it wasn't worth the drive there. I was starting to get a bit disappointed with my birding adventure this morning.

Double-crested Cormorants

Barn Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

It was already close to 11:00 by now, and I thought that at least some of the shorebirds might still be out at the Western Ridge Lake. Birding was starting to get better as I logged 26 species in a little more than an hour, including Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, a pair of Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, and two Green Herons. A small brown bird flew across the lake on the other side from where I was standing. I only got one grainy photo of it, but it looks like a raptor to me - any opinions would be appreciated.

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Green Heron

Unidentified raptor?

Even though it was now after noon, I decided to see what might be on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I stopped at the ponds at King Family Vineyards along the way, and only saw a few Mallards, a Green Heron, and a few other common species. The parkway, however, was worth the drive. At the cirque between mm. 7-8, I saw a Scarlet Tanager, Warbling Vireo, American Redstart, Cerulean Warbler, Black & White Warbler, and a Canada Warbler - the same location where I had seen a Canada Warbler for the past two years. I also saw a small brown bird that had mostly white tail feathers with central brown tail feathers, and I can't identify it - help would be appreciated. I also heard a small brown bird with an unusual call - a series of klik-urrrrrrrn, klik-urrrrrrn (the second syllable was buzzy), but it flew away as I walked near to it to take a photo. I don't know if it was the same unidentified brown bird that I photographed a few minutes earlier. At Hickory Springs overlook (mm 12), I saw more American Redstart, Cerulean, and Black & White Warblers.

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler

American Redstart

Cerulean Warbler

Black & White Warbler

Scarlet Tanager

Warbling Vireo

Unidentified brown bird

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